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Fracking opponents have been publicly vocal about their stance. California recently released new regulations that require oil companies to request permission to extract oil through fracking.
A group of 27 former campaign and administration advisors to Gov. Jerry Brown released a letter Thursday asking him to ban the unconventional oil extraction method known as fracking until more is known about its effects on global warming, air and water pollution.
Their concern is over the 1,750-square mile Monterey shale formation that holds oil in rocks underneath Central and Southern California. It's estimated to hold two-thirds of the recoverable shale oil in the continental U.S., more than 15 billion barrels worth. But this kind of oil is difficult to extract because it's locked in those pockets of rock.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, gets at the oil by injecting water and sometimes chemicals to break open the rocks and get the oil flowing up into wells.
The top signer was Brown's former economic advisor Michael Kieschnick, CEO of Credo, a wireless phone company that funds progressive non-profits. Wendy Wendlandt, who staffed Brown's 1992 presidential campaign, and advisors from his earlier runs for president and U.S. Senate also signed the letter.
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Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is the oldest sitting U.S. Senator.
It was an odd turn of phrase.
California's senior Senator Dianne Feinstein had just voted with her Democratic colleagues Thursday to dump the filibuster for all presidential nominees except those for the U.S. Supreme Court. She was explaining her vote, telling reporters that the "frustration just overwhelms" Democrats like her who have watched numerous judicial nominees never get a floor vote.
Feinstein said she realized eliminating the filibuster could hurt Democrats should they end up back in the minority again. But she added she wants "for the remainder of my five-plus years to get something done."
The remainder of her five-plus years. Was California's first elected female Senator publicly admitting she had no plans to run for re-election in 2018?
Feinstein has served in the Senate since 1992 and, at age 80, she is currently the oldest serving U.S. Senator. Time Magazine just named her one of the country's most influential octogenarians. She serves as chair of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee and has served two decades on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She championed the Desert Protection Act, setting aside seven million acres of California desert.
Photo by Mark Luethi via Flickr Creative Commons
A preliminary report from the Coroner's Office shows the TSA officer killed Nov. 1 at LAX died within two to five minutes of being shot.
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Today is Thursday, Nov. 21, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
The TSA officer killed Nov. 1 at LAX died within two to five minutes of being shot, according to the coroner, reports KPCC. Gerardo Hernandez was killed when a gunman opened fire in Terminal 3. According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, "all the facts indicate that any action taken by responding officers or medical personnel would not have saved (his) life."
Prosecutors are giving closing arguments in the trial of Angela Spaccia, a former top administrator in the city of Bell, according to the Los Angeles Times. Spaccia is charged with conflict of interest, misappropriation of public funds, secretation of public records, receiving unauthorized compensation and conspiracy.
DWP officials are working to correct a new software system that has generated inaccurate bills and left customers with frustratingly long hold times when they call the utility.
If you called the L.A. Department of Water and Power customer service line a year ago, you could expect to be on hold for about 5 or 10 minutes. But call today and you can expect a hold time of 30-t0-40 — even 50 — minutes.
The City Council's Energy and Environment Committee met Wednesday to grill DWP officials about the situation. Committee member Paul Koretz relayed what he's hearing: "As my constituents would characterize it: they call in. They wait. They get transferred. They wait. Centuries go by, mountains wear down, Ice Ages come and go, and they're still on hold and then they call my office."
The problem is a new multimillion-dollar customer information system. The DWP switched to the new software in September to upgrade the way it manages customers' accounts. But there have been problems. Customers have received bill estimates that are double or triple what they typically pay. And when they call to complain, they're put on hold. DWP officials told the committee they're trying to spend more time with each customer in recognition of that frustrating wait time. But that's making the problem even worse.
"You've given us a Catch-22," Koretz said. "You're having to be more empathetic and take longer on the calls because you're taking so long on the calls."
Utility officials told the committee many of the payment problems will self-correct in a subsequent billing cycle. And customers who fall behind on their inaccurate bills won't be taken to collection. In the long run, the new system will be a good move for the DWP, according to Campbell Hawkins, the utility's director of customer service.
Immigration activists rallied last month on the Washington Mall.
President Obama told the Wall Street Journal Business Forum this week he’d support the House Republicans' piecemeal approach to immigration, saying “if they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done,” he doesn’t care what reform looks like.
Democrats and immigration activists are echoing the President’s message.
House Speaker John Boehner has consistently insisted that a step-by-step approach is the only way immigration will advance in the House.
House Democrats have been critical of the GOP approach, instead pushing for a version of the more comprehensive Senate bill. Florida Congressman Joe Garcia, the author of HR-15, the House version of the Senate immigration bill, said last month the notion that Republicans — “who cannot pass anything” — are going to pass a piecemeal immigration bill “is a fallacy.”